What's Your eBay Location?

Hiding your true locality is a turnoff for buyers.

by Danna Crawford
- Jan 22, 2010

Location, location, location. No doubt, you've heard this catchphrase before in reference to the three most important things about real estate. I would argue that location can be just as important for an online business.

I've been noticing that more and more eBay sellers are using creative names or vague descriptions as their locations, rather than stating where the item is truly located. Some of the locations I've recently spotted in eBay listings include:

  • "USA"
  • "The East"
  • "Toyland"
  • "West Coast"
  • "Fill in your City and State"—yes, this was the actual "location" entered by a seller

Personally, when I'm shopping on eBay and a seller doesn't reveal their location, I will not buy from them without doing further research. If I'm in a hurry and a seller doesn't state where they are located, I will move on in frustration to search for the next item.

I want to know where my item is being shipped from before I bid or buy. eBay sellers are cutting themselves short when they use a "cutesy" location in place of their actual city, state or ZIP code.

The seller's location is displayed on the right side of each listing under "Other item info," directly below the eBay item number.

Back in the Beanie Baby-selling days, circa 1998, everyone on eBay was coming up with clever locations such as Beanie Land, Beanie Baby City and Beanie Express, to name just a few. Sure it was all in fun, but back then competition wasn't as thick as it is now. eBay didn't have nearly as many members as it does now. These days, everyone on eBay must represent themselves in a business-like, trustworthy manner. When a potential customer enters a listing, presentation is everything.

So when a seller's location reads "Fill in your City and State," it tends to reflect on the seller as not being a serious merchant. By not including this information, a seller could be losing customers.

The seller's location can have a major impact on shipping time, and a buyer should be able to decide whether they're willing to wait

Why should the location matter? Here are a few of the reasons buyers are turned off by phony or elusive seller locations:

  • Customs: If an item is being shipped from another country and the buyer is not alerted ahead of time, there may be additional unexpected fees they'll have to pay to the post office before the delivery of the item is complete. That's similar to a bait-and-switch.
  • Shipping time: The seller's location can have a major impact on shipping time, and a buyer should be able to decide whether they're willing to wait.
  • Ethics: There's nothing worse than getting to checkout and realizing the item is not located in the U.S. Customers deserve to know where their item is being shipped from. Don't make it a guessing game.

Full disclosure

As a seller, you need to be aware of the reasons buyers may decide to make their purchases elsewhere. By the same token, if you also buy on eBay, pay attention to the location of where your item is being shipped from. Unpleasant surprises can tarnish the eBay buying experience—especially when you're depending on an item for an event or a gift.

I recently purchased some cordless telephone batteries from Hong Kong, and I didn't mind that they were from an international seller because I was able to get them at a very affordable price. I knew ahead of time the seller was in Hong Kong, and expected the shipping time to be delayed. I had no unpleasant surprises. The seller had the common courtesy to let me know up front where they were shipping from—and I greatly appreciated it.

Other sellers had the same item for a bit less, but they didn't reveal their location. I sensed they must have been shipping from Hong Kong as well, but I never gave them my business because I felt they were not being honest. Who knows whether my hunch was right, but it doesn't matter because a red flag goes up for me when location is not shared.

Bottom line: As a shopper, pay attention to location. As a seller, don't be elusive; show your location.

With more than 88 million users on eBay, paying attention to little things like an item's location may seem insignificant. In all reality, sellers can't afford to overlook any strategies—big or small—when competing in the world's largest online marketplace.

About the Author

Danna Crawford, CEO of PowerSellingMom, Inc., has been a successful eBay seller since 1997. In 2008, she received eBay's Community Hall of Fame award, as well as the Golden Ribbon Community Seller Award from eBay Giving Works. As an eBay Certified Education Specialist, she teaches at the community college and university levels, and frequently speaks on topics such as how to make money blogging, writing eBooks and more. Crawford can be heard every Friday night on her Internet radio show, PowerSellingMomRadio, and in weekly webinars at VirtualOnlineLearning.com.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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